Connor Power, a Vancouver, Canada-based venture capitalist, embraced a vegan diet but could not find food he enjoyed. He decided to start his own brand.
Power enjoyed Vancouver-area vegan restaurants but wanted to cook at home. He tried several meal kits with vegan options but did not enjoy the experience.
“Adopting a more plant-based lifestyle made me realize that making vegan meals at home can be tricky,” Power said.
He saw an opportunity in the market, and along with Kaylee Astle, a tech executive, launched Vegano, a meal kit delivery service that caters to vegans. The company started beta testing the website and delivery service last year and went live in January.
Initially, the service is only available in Vancouver but could soon expand to Toronto, Montreal and Los Angeles. Vegano uses a courier service to deliver meals but plans to begin using mail delivery in the future so the meal kits can be available across Canada.
The company has gotten positive feedback since the launch, Vegano spokesman Beckett Putra said. People want to eat vegan but do not have the time to cook some vegan meals. The meal kits are designed to be prepared in 45 minutes or less. Currently, the meals are calculated for two people, but discussions are underway to make larger portions available.
“We have seen a demand for young families with kids,” Putra said. “You can go prep to plate in 45 minutes, so it’s great for families.”
The fit between Astle and Power has worked well. Power worked previously in consumer-packaged as well as the cannabis industry, and he has taken several companies public. Astle has a background in e-commerce and founded a technology recruiting firm. She is vegan due to health issues and embraced the idea of Vegano.
“I was born with an intolerance to dairy, so my family often used plant-based alternatives in many of our meals,” she said. “I’m excited to help more Canadians experience the benefits of a plant-based diet, even if it’s only a few days of the week.”
Besides the meal kits, Vegano plans to launch a marketplace with consumer packaged goods in April. The same courier service that delivers the meals will also deliver the packaged goods. The marketplace will contain Vegano products as well as products from other companies. The goal is to make Vegano the centralized place for consumers who want to purchase vegan food.
The marketplace will contain protein bars, dietary supplements, frozen foods, soups and other packaged goods. Putra said the company plans to stock the marketplace with products from small businesses that specialize in vegan food.
Putra said the combination of meal kits and a marketplace makes Vegano different. The goal is to appeal to a wider segment of people who practice a vegan diet.
The company recently announced that it had completed a round of funding. The company garnered $4.2 million in the current round and has raised a total of $6 million. The current round of funding values the company at $14 million.
“The financial support will help us scale and execute our vision rapidly,” Conner said. “With steady growth, Vegano will be in a position to acquire other vegan food companies within two years.”